Sunday, March 6, 2011

Talking to Strangers

My friend Mackie and I arrived at the Montes Café in Bangor, Maine for lunch.  It was the last day of their “Mexican” week and I was not going to miss out on my favorite fish tacos and to die for chocolate kahlua cake!  What we got was a lot more than we bargained for!  Montes was – as it often is – very busy.   The only table they had open was a large round table for eight.  They sat us there and asked if we wouldn’t mind sharing it if others needed a spot.  We said, “of course”!

As we began drooling over the menu two women arrived and asked if we minded if they joined us.   We immediately introduced ourselves and struck up a conversation – each talking about why we were there and what we were going to order.   But we also talked about what we do, who we are and what brought us to or back to Maine.  Everyone had an interesting story about why they’re here and what has kept us here or in the case of both of these women (who have been friends for 60 plus years) why they returned after leaving. 

As it turned out one of the women knew who I was and was excited to connect with me by accident!   We exchanged business cards and plan to get together again to talk about her business. After we placed our orders two gentlemen were seated at our ever-growing table.   I’m not sure they knew what they were getting themselves into but they quickly joined us in conversation.  They both work for the state and it was fascinating getting their take on what’s going on in Augusta and to learn about the jobs that they do.

Thanks to Montes – we “turned the table” on the old adage “never talk to strangers” and by the time the dessert menus came we all felt like old friends.  So much so that we convinced each other to get the chocolate cake and together we reveled in the joy of each bite!

I’m telling you this story because it was one of the highlights of my week and it was truly unexpected!   It reminded me that with all the “social” networking we’re doing these days – nothing compares to meeting new people in person!   Thank you to Montes for creating an atmosphere for that to happen.   From now on I’m going to ask for a big table – and talk to strangers.   Give it a try – it just might be the highlight of your week too.